Sunday, July 31, 2011

How Do You Use Post It Notes?

Create Teach Share

Mrs. Rojas over at "Create-Teach-Share" is having a linky party on how to use Post It Notes!
Hop over to see some of the creative ways different teachers are using my favorite little friend...
the Post It Note!

Here's an idea I borrowed from our wonderful speech and language pathologist at school...
thanks Lindsay!
She made these for end of the year gifts for her daughters teachers....and what teacher wouldn't enjoy having one of these in there room!

I went to Wal Mart and found some cute but reasonable Post It "knock off" Notes for around 2 dollars.

Dollar Tree was out of the plastic stand up picture frames, but lo and behold...Wal Mart was cheaper...only 97 cents for this baby...  which is a perfect size for my little post it note holder!

I used to be a "Creative Memories" Consultant (in another life) so I had plenty of pretty paper to use as the background under my picture frame...

I used some nifty double sided tape (from my CM stash) to attach the Post It Pad to the front of the picture frame holder

and Ta Da...

a cute Post It Note holder to place on a desk so that the kids can write what went wrong or something they need help with and post it to a bulletin board while I'm at small group...this was an idea from Debbie Diller....they can write what they needed help with if they can't solve a problem on their own or with a friend and then I can address the situation at the end of small group time :)

Enjoy and be sure to join the fun at "Create-Teach-Share"


Saturday, July 30, 2011

San Diego Quick Assessment

I sure do miss having the Great Pacific Ocean only 30 minutes away!  

However, I can reminisce about my favorite place each year school begins as I give my students the "San Diego Quick Assessment" that first week of class :)

If you do a google search on "San Diego Quick Assessment", you'll have a multitude of sites and pdf formats to download and enjoy.  It's a quick and simple test I've used over the years to help me quickly place my kiddos into small groups before the first two weeks are over.  As more testing and observations are made, I can move the kids from group to group as needed....however, I find this quick little assessment is usually pretty good about putting them into the right placement!

I've created a power point to go with the PrePrimer through the Fourth grade lists of words so that I don't have to have any papers sitting on the desk.  I plan to download the power point as pictures and upload them to my iPad or iPod.  Then the kids can scroll through the words and say them as they can...while I make notes on my computer or on the record sheets that are available online!

Download the Power Point for the San Diego Quick Assessment Words Here...
or by clicking the link below...

Have a great day!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Replacement for the "Dreaded Treasure Box!"

Maybe I'm a fuddy duddy, but I dread the treasure box and all that comes with it!  Just seemed like a waste of my money and the kids lost or left whatever they got after they got it....probably because I was such a terrible treasure box provider :)

I came upon a the BEST idea for rewards to take the place of the dreaded treasure box posted on "First Last!"  She calls it her Behavior Catalog!  Hop over to her site to check it out!  I've already got my new "Frogtastic Behavior Catalog" ready to go!  Thanks to Sarah!  Click on her cute button below to take you to her HERE to go to the post about the behavior catalog!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Check Out The Teacher's Lounge Blog

I'm so honored to be a guest blogger on The Teacher's Lounge! Hop over to check it out :)
Really good stuff has a really good blog that's got great posts from various was great fun posting for them!  And I LOVE their products!

I'm working on something cool to do with the kids and my new obsession with cupcakes...did you see the plastic cupcake containers in the Dollar Spot at Target?  My wheels are turning...just let me get through the next couple of days of band camp and I'll post about it :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Kiss Your Brain!"

Check out what I discovered "hiding" in my "Craft Room"
 (read room where everything school and photo related gets dumped)!

I've been enjoying some "Pinterest Time" to debrief from this mornings band camp...
First the Bass Drums had sectionals in the room I was working.....
Then the Sousaphones arrived!  Gotta remember the Advil tomorrow :)

I really do enjoy the camp and the kids....but there's a REASON I teach First Grade :)

So...back to the Pinterest Get Away....

I pinned this cute idea from Mrs. Bond's Fantastic First Grade Website

I love the Dr. Jean song and we "Kiss Our Brains" quite often in my class....but how cute would this be to sometimes award a very thoughtful and unique idea/response with a real Hersey's Kiss?

Enter my "find" in the montage of a craft room...
Is this not perfect to sit in the classroom and entice the kids to really put some thought into their answers?

I took all the stuffing out and added two buttons on the sides of the seams ....

To each button, I added a sticky velcro dot.

Now....when someone deserves an extra special kiss on their brain...they can get a nice chocolatey treat....not to mention, when the teacher might need a little chocolate kiss too :)

Thanks to Mrs. Bond's Fantastic Idea....

Enjoy your day!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bottle O' Words! like the water thingy on my fridge again!  So, I'm a big filtered water kinda girl...yeah, yeah, I know the water in my area is supposed to be the is what it is.
I found these cool bottles of water at ....wait for it....Target!

So my brain starts ticking and thinking that it would be really fun to have BIG word bottles to search for the words would take a TON of rice to fill this baby....literally!  And then there would be the noise factor and the weight factor...some of my firsties have the tiniest arms ever!  So the challenge became what to put into the jar to have the kids swish around to find the words...not too loud...and not too heavy!  And Viola!

Perfect filler for such a big jar and very quiet and light!

So now...what to write the words on....
from the Target Dollar Spot!  Love it!

Now I have a huge jar of words to shake and find!

And then I thought I'd throw in some Debbie Diller and make a journal for the kids to record their words in so that we could keep a record of who finds what words on which date...tried to 
use the I can statements I so love from her!

Thought I'd start the first couple of weeks with a Big Bottle O' Kindergarten Sightword Review!

Need the labels?  Download them for free from my Teachers Notebook Shop!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cupcakes AND Books Make a Perfect Match!

Cover to Cover is a local bookstore in Arlington, TN.  It's got a new look, a new location, and a new buddy....the cupcake!  And not just ANY cupcake...these are THE BEST cupcakes EVER!!!!  Talk about having to go on a diet after this summer's find!  YIKES!!!

Along with the great books, you can order a coffee and a cupcake to sit and enjoy free internet at the adorable cafe tables!  The coffee is from a local business as is the unique pottery for sale!  There's a small assortment of ice cream and some yummy sodas to choose from as well.  Don't like cupcakes...then perhaps you'd prefer a brownie.  I'm tellin' ya....this is the place to be!

The grand openings this Saturday, July 16th...I will of course be stopping in for the dollar cupcake bargains from 6-8!  YUM!!!  

Check out their facebook page too:

If you're going to the Shelby County Teacher Workshops at Arlington Elementary are SOOOOO close to sweet goodness!  Be sure to stop in and see what yummy treats are available that day!  I'll be heading over there after the Math workshop on Friday at 11am...see you there?

Here's to trying to be good and not go for a cupcake right now!  (Especially since I just had one last night and plan for one on Thursday, Friday, AND Saturday of this week!)...what can I say?  It's a great place to meet up with friends and enjoy good sweets and conversation!


Blog Alert!

Hop over to this adorable blog...."Busy Bees" for a great idea on the "Mystery Letter Bag"!

I may have to snag this idea to use with something this year...I've got tons of old lunch bags that could be snazzied up and put to better use!  Plus I love the idea of having the kids read off clues...

I've used this idea before with just a plain old paper bag and had the kids bring in 100 of something for 100's day ....their something had to fit in a 20oz. or less clear plastic bottle...make sure you add in clean to the directions :)
It was a fun one time thingy...but this Busy Bee idea could be a year long treat!  I could see sending the bag home on Friday and asking that it be brought back by it something like "Wacky Wednesday's Mystery Bag Treat"... well...maybe not that, but you get the idea!

At any rate...take a hop on over to the "Busy Bee"and look around!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Are you a Vista Printer?

Have you ever been to Vista Printing?
I'm hooked on making business cards to write "Happy Notes" ....

Check this design out...

And I thought this one would be a cute one too....

They've got tons of great things and if you like them on facebook, 
you can hook into some great links for free shipping and deals :)  

What cool things have you created?

Save up to 80% on custom printed products at Vistaprint. Order today!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Pancakes Anyone?


This is a Literacy Center I use at the beginning of the year.  We read one of the many books available for pancakes...


To create the station, I used a Dollar Tree plate, some fun foam, and an old pan I had....cut out circles from the fun foam, add letters with a missing blank....

then draw the answer circles on a plate.

The idea is the kids serve up a pancake to match the missing letter.  
I coded them on the back so they were self-checking.
It's a great activity to start the year with reviewing the alphabet :)


Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Book Whisperer Chapter 3

Is this not a great book?  I love the author's style of writing!   
I find myself shaking my head as I read the author's words and thinking....oh true! 

Chapter Three:  There's a Time and a Place

"Time for Reading is Time Well Spent"
Agreed, although easier to do in the upper grades, I still think it's necessary to give kiddos in the younger grades time to read on their own.  I may have had the ability to tell my seventh graders to pull out a book and get reading, but it's harder to do the same with my their little hearts to death...but if you can't read the words, you've gotta learn their are other ways to read a book.  

I use pieces of the Daily 5 with my first graders to help with the independent reading aspect of our day.  I feel as strongly as our author about kids reading to themselves!  During the first week of school, we put together an anchor chart that talks about the 3 ways to read a book...
Read the Words
Read the Pictures
Retell the Story
We talk about each way to read a book and then spend some time that first week modeling the different ways we thought of that you can read a book.  I create the chart with the kids using their words as much as possible and then pair it down to the short spurt sentences above .... 
then this anchor chart is posted onto the wall near the library corner of my room.

The two posters below were shared on the boards...I don't put them up in the class, however, I do use them to remind myself what I want to discuss with the kids.  The key is to get the kids to say it so we can make our own anchor charts...makes 'em feel like they're creating the anchor charts for the room :)   You can check out the posts HERE.

"No matter how long students spend engaged in direct reading instruction, without time to apply what they learn in the context of real reading events, students will never build capacity as readers.  Without spending increasingly longer periods of time reading,  they won't build endurance as readers, either.  Students need time to read and time to be readers."

I have reading boxes for each child in my room.  It's their box of books that they read from during our independent reading time.  At the beginning of the year, I add the books....picture books as well as books with Clifford or Little Critter....when we talk about independent reading time, we talk about building stamina for reading by ourselves...I relate it to building up our muscles when we workout with weights.  We'll start with just around 3 minutes that very first week and gradually increase until we get up to about 15-20 minutes.  It's called our "Reading Box Time"...and if you miss it one day, they let you know!  I usually try to schedule it right after lunch (as we don't get to go outside for recess then and they need something to help them get back into the groove)...Target usually starts putting out their school stuff right about now and they have these fantastic boxes that are perfect for reading boxes...
Really Good Stuff also carries them...just a little more pricey...

"Creating a Place for Reading"

Our author is not about having a specific place for reading...
"I do not care where or how my students read in my room, only that they are reading.  They may lie on the floor, take their shoes off, or remain at their desks.  Why should it matter?" kinda does from the firstie aspect of it...especially the shoe thingy...I personally tell my kiddos 'if you can get them back on by yourself, you can take them off'...and that's generally said after coming in from the playground and hearing complaints of having rocks in shoes :)

That being said, I do have a reading corner, but I do allow them to read anywhere...we talk about this during the first week of school...however, I find I must be explicit about where they can and cannot read in the room...for instance up under the table where the computer sits on top and the shelf is on the bottom is just not the best place in the world...also under the window where you can sit on your knees and check out what the kids outside are doing is also not going to cut it...
We spend time having them show me where they think is a good place to take their reading box and spread out to read.  I have a couple of throw rugs that I got at the Dollar Spot at Target that some of them choose to use... but most just sit on the floor.  One year I had pillows...however it became a huge time consumer to get the pillows out and argue over who had which one first.  This year I may let them bring in towels to take to their spot...only because the floor really is quite nasty!  Still thinking on this one.  At any rate, I totally agree with our author's thoughts on places to read:

"A classroom atmosphere that promotes reading does not come from the furniture and its placement as much as it comes from the teacher's expectation that students will read."

Wow...this has been one of my longest posts...sorry about that...but I'm really passionate about creating readers at a young age!  I believe that if they start off early loving reading, then they'll keep it up throughout their long lives!  I may not be successful with every one of my frogglets, but I do manage to hook quite a few before the end of the year :)

....time of my first Linksy party...
What are your thoughts?  Got any special things you do to help your students with the independent reading?  Do you do the Daily Five? ....spend time with independent reading? ....have special places the kids can read?  Link up and share your ideas with us!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Total Ten

Gotta get my kiddos to think more about how to make tens...found this game somewhere and wrote it up...not my idea, just my putting it together....
Download the Total Ten game for free from my Teacher Pay Teacher account!


HFW Pattern Blocks

Mrs. Thiessen at "The First Grade Sweet Life" posted about some cool reading stations for Vocabulary Words using pattern block bingo boards.  She got the boards from in the pattern block section.  Unfortunately, prekinders does not allow me to share the boards I created using their graphics....but the good news is they're really easy to create... the pattern block graphic you want to use.  You can save it on your desktop or in your iPhotos.  Next, open a new power point file and select a blank slide template.  Now import your picture and pull and drag it to make it the same size as the slide.  Last, create text boxes and add the words you would like to the areas on the graphic.  Easy Peasy pattern block boards.
Watch this Jing Video to see how I put it together...

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

Still not the greatest at creating Jing videos, but hope this helps a little.  I did go back and add a text box at the bottom of the board that indicated that the graphic was from


Monday, July 4, 2011

Are You a Reading Street Teacher?

Are you a Reading Street Teacher?  Have I got a blog for you to check out!
I'm in the process of creating a blog to house some of the awesome ideas and files that are stored
on the firstgradeteachersintn yahoo group...tons of resources from around the world...but
all gooped together.  I thought a blog would help sort things out
and be a great way to share and organize new ideas!

Take a moment and hop over to 

It's not just for TN's for anybody and everybody!

Enjoy your day!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Zamzar File Conversions! YES!!!

My new bestest friend!  I have been converting You Tube videos to movies I can store on my computer for some time now with NOW they have a convert with button that you can install on your toolbar and it makes the conversion Oh So Much more easy!!!!

Check out their informational video HERE!

It's so easy to convert files now!  I have a ton of videos from the Youtube world that I need to go back and grab :)

Enjoy your day!